Any legal or technical reasons why Nintendo wouldnt make 3DS and Wii U region free?

Discussion in 'Switch - Games & Content' started by RemixDeluxe, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    In case you aren't aware Nintendo recently announced they will be making the Switch region free. Because of this I'm wondering what reason is there to keep their previous two systems region locked? A small update to get them unlocked would be cool, otherwise I got homebrew on each of my systems that have them unlocked.
     
  2. Memoir

    Memoir A Hero to Zero

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    I remember reading something a few years ago. I believe Nintendo was worried about licensing and profits. Seemed like a half ass excuse. It wasn't descriptive and was hard to follow.
     
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  3. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I read it was because they wanted to keep illicit content away from children that isn't appropriate in other regions. Cultural differences.
     
  4. Memoir

    Memoir A Hero to Zero

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    It was a few years ago. All I remember was that it didn't make sense.
     
  5. WBW

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    It's likely that existing license agreements with other developers stipulated that there'd be region-locking, so they couldn't change that now, or they'd be in violation.
     
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  6. Rodrigo Mafra

    Rodrigo Mafra Advanced Member

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    I'v heard something like that the region lock was meant to control the sales of each region.
     
  7. Futurdreamz

    Futurdreamz GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    This. All distribution contracts with third parties would be affected by region locking, and attempting to unlock the Wii U or s3DS would require getting all developers on board - which will be like herding cats. Far easier to simply have unlocked regions in the original contracts, which is what they are doing with the Switch.
     
    Last edited by Futurdreamz, Jan 15, 2017
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  8. jefffisher

    jefffisher GBAtemp Maniac

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    the discs and cartridges are region specific with region specific updates. it's probably just easier to do it from the start than to try and add it later a few 3ds games have broken banners in other regions they probably just don't want to have to do the little bit of work it would take to fix that.
    switch games will have region free update partitions or multiple updates on a single cartridge and most games will probably be multilingual on one cartridge right from day one.
     
  9. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Though contracts would be my first place to look were I the one tasked with doing something nice for end of console life I would be kind of shocked if there was not a time locked clause in that (for a date or two years after release/approval/similar or specified period of sale). Not necessarily for this sort of thing but as a general get out of trouble clause to save them having to get agreements and hunt, possibly new, owners of copyrighted works down should they have to pull from markets or do some kind of patch themselves.

    You might also have to consider regional restrictions on devices. For instance France restricts headphone volume and thus most of Europe restricts headphone volume or just gets the same model, it is not a bad thing actually as damaged hearing is increasingly popular among kids that grew up with earbuds. Europe is not quite as sue happy as the US but if for some reason your non EU models violated this rule (not really a problem for headphones as you are not going to be torn between two differing rule sets) a cover your arse move would be to nix it. More likely here is something a bit more esoteric like Japan says you are allowed to emit this much interference at this distance and somewhere else is a bit harsher. Nintendo is a big company and has been doing this now for a few years so I imagine they use something broadly similar for all regions and play to the harshest elements of everything they can find at once, I tend to only see this for far smaller companies that think they can just sell electronics if they can get it in a container out of some part of China.
    Most of this would come down to the reseller what did it but you probably want to avoid being a named party in things, or otherwise dragged in front of the beak to say your bit.

    Back to agreements I don't know if they have any partners like the ique stuff where they might have given them, or the distributor, a regional monopoly and enforced it like that. Again though I would be surprised if it was not heavily time limited.

    They might try for a "would break parental controls" thing but that is a weak excuse from where I sit, I can't be bothered to pull up 3dbrew though to see how it would likely work.

    On broken banners then as they sign everything for the 3ds they would hopefully already have copies of everything available. We already saw them whitelist DS games, a far bigger library than the 3ds one and probably still even if you only consider the pre RSA stuff, for the DSi and 3ds. On the flip side if that means a few days of dev time then it might not fly for them as it is not likely to do much for their sales*, not likely to impress too many retail partners (they don't have many friends left there) and possibly necessitate a firmware update (not a cheap process if they have to do full analysis) or maybe a new channel to launch instead (likely far cheaper but now risks a measure of customer confusion).

    *I think region locking is an abomination and probably contrary to some world trade laws, however I can already work around it and probably already have so it is not like I am buying another. Likewise your hardcore buys games on playasia/during physical trips set, assuming they have not just borrowed from the former, has probably got it sorted too.
     
  10. RemixDeluxe
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    RemixDeluxe GBAtemp Psycho!

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    That's a damn shame it's not as simple as I'd imagine. I guess I should be grateful the Switch is region free and look ahead rather than complain about past mistakes.